Two very happy authors - Hannah Read-Baldrey on what it feels like to receive a copy of your first book in the post…

What does it feel like to hold your first book for the first time?…


Earlier on this week, Christine & I had the much awaited unveiling of the first ever copies of Everything Alice ( release date 4th July).

The week before our editor Lisa sent us a little exciting email, as she does, stating that there were going to be some early copies in the Quadrille office at the beginning of the week. She sent us each one copy on Tuesday morning on a “before 10am delivery.” It was a bit like expecting exam results, you hope you have done well… but you never know! ( GCESE French…) 

The doorbell rang at 9.30; the postman must have known it was something important by the look on my face, as he beamed at me brightly.

Against all my animalistic instincts to rip open the pink plastic envelope, I waited. Christine and I had decided to open our packages together: This was really important to the both of us, after all we have been through with our first book, the amount of work, effort & excitement throughout the whole process, it just wouldn’t have been the same otherwise.  

I spent a lot of time getting dressed that morning, I think more as a distraction more than anything else. Rolled my hair into the perfect 1940s ish hairstyle ( that I have made up) & put on my best bright red lipstick. 

At about 12.30, I jumped in the Mini and drove up to St Katherine’s Dock to meet her for a 1 pm lunch at work. I parked at the Waitrose carpark & covered my £10 parking cover charge with a bottle of pink fizz & plastic glasses ( fake champagne ones of course!). I waited outside, and waited, of course Chris was held up at work, which didn’t help the nerves! It was about 1.20 when she surfaced… delayed by the fact in my impatience/ excitement I walked one way and she the other. Finally we saw each other all beaming smiles across the tarmac. 


Instead of drinking my pink stuff we decided to be more civilized and go for a drink in the pub by the dock. (The bottle was enjoyed by myself and hubby Brendan later on, don’t you worry). We bought our drinks, but no food as a truck load of Japanese tourists had just rocked up on a coach trip, “40 mins wait for food love” explained the tall man behind the bar.


A glorious sunny day it was, so we sat outside, had a quick sip of our drinks then delved in. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect, this was for a few reasons; creating a book is a very long process, if you think from concept, to selling it to a publisher, to making everything, to photographing everything, to writing everything, having that edited, illustrating it, designing the layout, retouching, colour proofing then printing… its a long process & you see the pages of the book 1000s of times, they become engrained in your mind like your favorite song. It will be 2 years since first concept for it to hit the shops this July.  

Once the envelopes were opened we both just smiled, we went through each page together… Some things looked amazing, others looked even better! Its a funny feeling, to really have something in this life that you can call your own, all the work in there is ours (unusually we were allowed to create the entire process of the book ourselves, which was part of the deal, so none of the design was from the publisher). This is why this book is so special to the both of us, and what’s wonderful is we are such great friends it makes it even better to be able to share something like this with someone else.  

We asked the Spanish waiter to take our photo to mark the occasion, he said oh si its “Alicia en el País de las Maravillas” ( no I didn’t remember that, just googled it!) 

I think what the strangest thing is, the illustration that I took hours to create, cutting up little bits of paper, sticking them down then pulling them up again,( Im still picking out paper hearts from nooks and crannies) all created on my kitchen table, is now on the front cover of a book which will be sold all over the world… wow…  

We both signed our names in the front & wrote a little message in each others books. 



So cheers to Everything Alice, I do hope you love it as much as we do. It’s a very beautiful & bright book, one that has made two girls from South- East London very happy indeed!  

Han x


This article originally appeared on on the 7th May 2011

For further information about the book, please visit the Everything Alice website:

… &/or follow the girls on twitter